As is the case for many people, my introduction to Christopher Plummer was his role as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. I’m not sure at what age I first saw the film, probably around eight or so, but it began a lifelong love affair with the devastatingly handsome Plummer.
I mean, God DAMN…
Plummer was so gorgeous, the actress who played eldest Von Trapp daughter Liesl, Charmian Carr, couldn’t hide her crush, even for the camera. One can hardly blame her.
Of course, Plummer was much more than a handsome face. He was a highly skilled actor who starred in one of the most iconic films of all time and still somehow flew under the radar for decades, achieving some of his greatest successes in his final years.
Plummer received his first Oscar nomination at the age of 80, an age when many have already retired, reaping the benefits of their earlier achievements. Plummer said “fuck that” and would go on to earn two more nominations in his final decade, winning for his delightful turn in Beginners, as an elderly man with terminal cancer who decides that life is too short to live in the closet anymore. He remains the oldest actor to win a competitive Oscar. (He also holds the record for oldest nominee as well, for his final Oscar-nominated turn in 2017’s All the Money in the World.)
All the Money in the World, and Plummer’s performance in particular, has an interesting backstory. With days to go before the film’s planned October 2017 release, Hollywood was rocked by accusations of sexual misconduct against the movie’s star, Kevin Spacey. The film’s release was postponed and Spacey’s scenes as J. Paul Getty were reshot with Plummer in eight days, a mere month before the film’s eventual Christmas release. Imagine being nominated for your industry’s highest award for eight days of work at the eleventh hour. Plummer made it look oh so easy.
Plummer saved one of his best roles for last, as wealthy patriarch Harlan Thrombey in Rian Johnson’s twisty mystery Knives Out. It was a small but pivotal role, and he was funny and deliriously entertaining. The film turned out to be Plummer’s swan song, and what a way to go out.
Christopher Plummer died at home in Weston, Connecticut on February 5th, at the age of 91. Had he lived, he no doubt would have continued to act, but at least he leaves behind a filmography we can all enjoy for decades to come.